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Nov 30, 2009

Ministry of Health CEO testifies on his role in purchases

Story PictureThe afternoon session was lackluster when the second official gave testimony. Peter Allen, the C.E.O. in the Ministry of Health, was named in the audit report last week, for not adhering to contractual procedures and that he gave the nod to the purchase of medication which was cheaper but inferior. When Allen testified, he was quick to point out after he took his oath that he was not responsible for the contracts approved by the K.H.M.H. In fact, Allen went on to make what sounded like a political presentation, in which he compared the way the hospital conducted business before and after the General Elections.

Dr. Peter Allen, C.E.O., Ministry of Health
“While the Auditor General’s report referencing briefly again (page 12, paragraph 13.0) references numerous cases and indeed there were numerous adjustments made after discussion and deliberation and after the members had signed off on them. But it is noteworthy, I think that the IV giving sets appear to be the only affected item for which complaints were received, according to the report of the auditor general. These were recorded by the system and the appropriate corrections were made, as is proper. My Lord again for the record, please allow me to emphasize that these adjustments from the preliminary recommendations discussed with and signed off on by the committee members resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings, which were then available for emergency supplies following the tropical storm and tropical depression that affected the entire country that year for the first time in many years despite giving more supplies than ever before, the Ministry of Health did not need to apply for supplementary funding from the Ministry of Finance. In fact, the total savings made from the open tender process and the implementation of the Belize Health Information System to help bring more accountability and transparency to the supply chain management system amounts to millions of dollars. Once again eight point nine million in spending, compared to ten point seven million in the 2007 budget year under the previous administration while we purchased and distributed more supplies than ever before. Again My Lord, I feel the need to comment that this by any standards is a remarkable achievement. In less than two years we have moved from a system of no documentation, with open tender and no contracts for less supplies at a cost of ten point seven million dollars to a system of open tender, signed contracts, unprecedented accountability and transparency using the most advanced software in the world for more supplies than ever at a cost of almost two million dollars less.”

The Commissioners asked Allen only two questions and he did not avail himself to the media following his presentation. The inquiry is scheduled to resume on Thursday when three persons are expected to give testimony.

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